Thursday, September 20, 2012

Locked In

It's a beautiful day to paint a chicken coop...at least that's what I said to myself as I gathered up my paint and supplies and headed out to the coop, Coen trailing behind. With the door open and the window cranked as far as it could go, there was enough of a breeze to make it almost pleasant to be in there. After a morning of blaaa, of just kind of feeling tired and lethargic about life in general, I thought I would do something productive, something to check off of the to-do list, something to get me out of my slump.

All was going fabulous, as far as the painting was concerned, until somehow Coen closed the door of the coop and I was locked in. Apparently being scared of spider makes it impossible to then open the door and let your mother out of the chicken coop. The window doesn't crank open enough to let out an adult...tried that. Consoling a crying 4-year-old petrified of a speck with legs...impossible while locked in a chicken coop. Remaining calm as the paint fumes and the temperature rises in said coop...interesting. So sweating, hyper Mom breathing out of the window tries to instill confidence in her only son: "Coen, the spider is a bad guy and you're a good guy. You need to use the broom and get that guy!" After many failed attempts of throwing the broom from ten feet away, the spider finally takes off. Coen lets me out and saves the day...my little hero! Not sure of the elapsed time of this entire event, but long enough to have become quite drippy and head achy!

The air and the breeze post lock-up was incredible. It felt so good to be free. To know that I wasn't going to be stuck there for hours was such a relief. My life seems a little clausterphobic to me at times. I long for change. I don't always see it happen. Sometimes it gets me down, like this morning. (I even called my Mom to have a cry) I crave freedom. Not only for me, but for others too. I want to see people full of joy and peace. I want that too. Being locked in the chicken coop was a reminder that although I feel locked in sometimes in the circumstances of my life that there is always fresh air out there, there will be relief, and that this time of seeming hopelessness doesn't last forever. It also reminded me that soemtimes you need a Hero to get you out of hopelessness. Someone who lets you breathe...who is breath itself...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Friend

Day Thirty - Well, today is the last day of June and the last day of my photo challenge. It has been fun. This photo is a favorite for me this month. I think it may be my favorite because this is my favorite person. He told me this morning as I was taking the picture that he didn't want to be in my blog. I told him he didn't have a choice. He's my best friend and the person that I wanted to capture. He really is an incredible guy. I can say that cause it's true and I know that he'll never read this and won't know that I'm all gushy and stuff. He often knows what I need before I do. He calls me on things that I need to be called on. He encourages me when I'm down. He says, "I got you" when I'm sad. He has seen me cry more than any other person in the whole world. He has made me laugh until the tears stream down my face and I can't breathe. He doesn't give up on me. He cares about me and he practices really hard to be the friend that I need. I am so thankful for my friend, Jeremy. He is my lifetime friend.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Soft

Day Twenty-nine - Wow. Today has been a whirlwind. Elle and I went to the city with our friends Lydia and Corinne to celebrate the end of school. We saw the movie, Brave. It was really nice to have a day with friends, they are very special people. Then when I got home there was a phone call from a cousin from Saskatchewan that was passing through and wanted to stop by. What  an awesome surprise! So they are here, sleeping in their camper for the night before they continue on their journey. We just pulled the kids off the trampoline and put them  into bed and here I am getting my blog in for today just under the wire. I actually knew that today was going to be one of those days and I kinda cheated with my photo. I took this picture yesterday. My brother and sister-in-law's rabbit had babies a few weeks ago. Here's one of them. He looks big, but he's not. You should see his mama! (And no that is not a "your Mama" joke!) He is the epitome of soft. I think if you looked up soft in the dictionary you would find baby bunny's fur listed there. Too cute. Anyway....Good night. I'm done....

Thursday, June 28, 2012

On the Shelf

Day Twenty-eight - I love reading. I love books. When I was going over today's photo topic, I was stumped for a bit trying to think of what I would shoot. And then I had my 'duh' moment and knew exactly what I would take a picture of. Here it is...one of the book shelves in our house. I thought that to go along with this post today I would offer some suggestions for summer reading a variety of categories. Here we go...

Fiction (fun and light):
1. Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness Mystery Series - It's hilarious. Set in the 1920's, a distant relative of the queen of England, 28th in line to the throne, gets into all kinds of mischief trying to keep up appearances while living on nothing. The queen, from time to time, asks her for special favors which usually involve a murder going down. I always laugh.
2. Anything written by Cecilia Ahern. She wrote P.S. I Love You. Her stories are kind of like modern day fairy tales. Again, funny but always with a twist.


3. Alan Bradley's Flavia DeLuce Mysteries - A fiesty eleven year old chemistry whiz that solves mysteries. Not children's books, though it may seem so. Very entertaining.

Fiction (great stories)
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - If you have not read it and only seen the movie, you really should read the book. It is fabulous.
2. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway - read it.
3. Anything written by Adriana Trigiani. She's great. Real characters. Good stuff.
4. The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
5. Little Bee - Chris Cleve
6. One Day - David Nicholls
7. Juliet - Anne Fortier
8. The Fisherman - Larry Huntsperger
9. The Orchard - Jeffrey Stepakoff
10. The Language of Flowers - Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Fiction (Classics)
1. JANE AUSTEN IS A GENIUS! READ ALL OF HER BOOKS!
2. Oscar Wilde is also a riot. Start with "An Ideal Husband" or "Lady Windemere's Fan". He definitely has society pegged, nothing has changed in over a hundred years...really!
3. The Blue Castle - L.M. Montgomery (still one of my favorite authors)
4. Jane Eyre - Charolotte Bronte

Fiction (to read aloud to children)
1. Kate DiCammilo's Mercy Watson Series - I always read these to Elle in my very best southern accent. They are about a pig and her very out-of-touch-with-reality owners. Very fun!
2. Anything written by Dr. Seuss. (Fox in Socks really does hurt my tongue!)
3. Ramona and Beezus - Beverly Cleary
4. Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones Series - Oh my these are so funny. These books chronicle the school days of a little girl named Junie B. Kindergarten and grade one would be really something if she was your student!!!

Non-Fiction
1. Little Princes - Connor Grennan
2. The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls (cannot believe this is true!!!)
3. Interrupted - Jen Hatmaker
4. Sacrilege - Hugh Halter
5. Crazy Love - Francis Chan
6. An Irresistable Revolution - Shane Claiborne
7. Searching for God Knows What - Donald Miller

Really, I could go on and on and on. There are so many great books out there. Hope you get a chance to do some summer reading...hit the library and grab a stack!!! Happy reading...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bathroom

Day Twenty-seven - Ahhh. The bathroom. A place that I go for five seconds of uninterrupted peace. You may think it crude that my photo today is of a toilet but today I have something to say and the toilet picture is key. (And there will be no potty humor, I promise!)

The bathroom is a place I take for granted. I've always had a bathroom, with a toilet and a sink to wash up. I've never really thought about what it's like to not have one. I am privileged more than I know. I turn on the tap and water magically appears. I flush the toilet and all is well. I can have a shower and the water is hot with lots of pressure. The only time I ever have to use anything but a toilet is when I'm camping and I'm not overly fond of that. I am spoiled on top of it all.

I read a statistic that caught my attention. Forty percent of the world lacks basic water sanitation, resulting in disease, death, wastewater for drinking, and loss of immunity. That's crazy. I read another stat that made my jaw drop in comparison to the first: Ammericans consume 26 billion liters of bottled water a day. That's a lot of water. Here's some sad stats: 42,000 deaths occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation. Ninety percent of those deaths are children under five years old. At any given time, half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-related disease. More people are affected by the negative impact of poor water supply and sanitation than by war, terrorism, and weapons of mass desctruction. Wow. These stats may seems like a downer, but we need to know these things so we can do something about it. That's the purpose in sharing them. I truly can't stand that I just gave you some numbers because people are not numbers. The people that are affected are someone's child, someone's mother, someone's uncle. These are real people with stories and history and a future. Hopefully a future that we can do something about.

A few years ago our church partnered with an organization that drills water wells in the desert of northwest Kenya. We raised money to build a well. The organization is called Nehemiah Construction Ministries. Their heart is to "reach out to the widows, orphans and the underprivileged of our world." Their "passion to help comes from Jesus' words in Matthew 25:40, "As you have done unto the least of these brothers of mine you have done unto me."" These people have changed lives by drilling water wells where there is very little water. Tens of thousands of people now have access to clean, fresh water. This is a miracle for them. This is life-changing. It's more than just water to drink. It also means that agriculture can be viable. People not only have water, they also improve their diets and can create a business. This is huge! These are the people in the statistics whose situation was altered. But there is more to do.

I don't write today with the intention of making you feel guilt. The opposite actually. I want you to glimpse the possible. I want you to see how these statistics can be changed...how people's lives are forever altered when we care, when we reach out in compassion to brothers and sisters around the globe that we just haven't been privileged enough to meet yet. We can make a difference. Together we can make something that seems hopeless; beautiful.

I cannot finish this post today without this powerful quote by Robert F. Kennedy: "Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills - against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence...Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation ....

It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples will build a current which can sweep down on the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

Wow....all that from a picture of a toilet. Who knew? If you are interested in partnering with Nehemiah Construction Ministries to bring water, hope and life to people in Kenya, check out their website: http://www.nehemiahconstruction.ca/. Together we can change things.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Where I Shop

Day Twenty-six - So this morning Coen and I made a whirlwind trip to town to get some groceries for us and some supplies for the games at Elle's class party this afternoon. The "Where I Shop" part of today may seem boring but you can find all the things that you need to have a really fun time. So as bland as a trip to the grocery store may seem it can lead to this....

Needless to say, this was really fun. If you ever want to give it a try you'll need shower caps, shaving cream and Cheetos. On person gets to get messy and the other one throws Cheetos at the messy one's head...pretty hilarious! I think the party was a hit!
 On a side note, Elle's class is one terrific bunch of kids. It's been so much fun getting to know them and their parents over the past two years. I look forward to many more class parties with these awesome kids!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Something Cute

Day Twenty-five - This is Darla. Darla is one cute kitty. She's also a survivor. When she was just itty bitty she was separated from her mama. She lived on her own for three days before she was found. Even now, she's small and independant. Her brother, Alfalfa, lives with us too. He's huge in comparison. He's also a lot more needy. Falf is always in your face wanting attention. Darla's a lot more subtle. She's my kind of cat. She keeps me company when I'm working outside and I don't have to keep swatting her away. On hot days she likes to lay on the deck in the shade...kind of where I'd like to be too but the weeds are beckoning.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

On my mind....

Day Twenty-Four - These girls have been on my mind today and lots of other days too. Neither of them are close by so I had to scrounge up a photo from a few years ago with both of them in it. Their names are Amy and Autumn. They are two very special girls to me and my family. The word special sounds so lame trying to describe what they mean to me. Long ago, I was their youth pastor. I watched them grow up from teenagers to women. Now, I am privileged to say, they are my friends. They inspire me. They make me laugh. They are wise. They are beautiful on the inside and out. They are strong and courageous. They love God deeply yet differently. They shine. I am so blessed that they keep in touch as time goes by. Amy leaves for Africa next week to work with children for a month. Autumn is in Saskatchewan doing an internship for the summer in children's ministry.
 I am always so excited to see them and to hear what is happening in their lives. I have listened to them share their hearts. I have heard their dreams and plans. The time spent investing in their lives is priceless to me. When I see them now investing their own lives into others, especially kids, I am moved....
They are in my heart along with so many other amazing young people that I've had the privilege to know. Today my thoughts and prayers are for you, Amy and Autumn.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Movement


 Day Twenty-Four - I played today...mostly with shutter speed and then some editing...movement is hard to capture. It's not something I usually try to do. Usually the words that come out of my mouth when the camera's in hand are more along the lines of: "Can you please sit still for just a sec?" This was fun. This was different. Today the words were: "Elle, just keep jumping!"
 I couldn't pick just one to show you. I love the shot above. She looks like she's suspended above the grass. Floating in time...forever.


This shot is all about the hair....so fun!

Here's a shot of the monkey girl. The look of joy on her face is one that I am so glad I captured. There is so much fun to be had in life. It takes energy to go and find it. And yes, it requires MOVEMENT. Embrace fun today! Jump, run, wiggle like a monkey, move...

Friday, June 22, 2012

From a High Angle

 Day Twenty-Two - I know not a fabulous photo...Jeremy did offer a trip up in the man lift to take an incredible photo from a VERY high angle, but I was busy doing this instead....mixing my potions....I mean making apricot jam. This is the yummiest and most apricoty jam I've ever tasted. I've used this same recipe since the first time I tried it five years ago. I wish I could take credit for the genius of the recipe, but alas I cannot. The credit goes to a lady named Jen. Her recipe and her words can be found here: http://thought-palace.tumblr.com/post/24291685286/apricot-jam-recipe. It is definitely worth the twenty-five minutes of stirring, I promise. I wish that this photo was scratch and sniff so you could smell what I'm smelling!! Tip: Grab a book and wear some oven mitts so you don't get sprayed with the hot lava while stirring! The end result is fantastic!!! Oh, and one more thing...use the apricot pit like she says...












Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where I slept....

Day Twenty One - I have to say this has been the strangest photo yet. I'm actually kind of weirded out that you all now know exactly where I sleep every night. You would think, Lisa the Blogger, who shares her thoughts and feelings would be okay with this. But I'm not sure I am!! So let's change the subject! This is where I sometimes sleep. On the right side. Close to the door where children sometimes saunter in at all hours of the night. Last night in fact was one of those nights. 12:47 A.M.
Enter small child saying: It is too dark.
Me: Yep. It's the middle of the night.
Small child: I know, but I can't see.
Me: Neither can I. (sigh)

I pulled my cozy self out of my warm bed turned on the blinding interrogation lights and went to find a light bulb for the night light so it wouldn't be too dark and so the small child could close his eyes, that didn't need to see anyway. So goes parenthood. Lessons in zero logic at ONE A.M.!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Favorite Photo...

Day Twenty - I love this photo. I love that you can't see the kite. I love that my girl has her hand on her hip...this kite flying stuff...easy. I love that her pig tails are blowing in the breeze. I love the clouds and the brilliant blue of the sky. I love the golden barley field. Definitely my favorite photo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Imperfect


Day Nineteen - I'm not one to fuss about myself. I do days without looking in the mirror. I just can't be bothered sometimes. If I'm busy in the garden or hangin' at home, just me and Coen, I don't see the point in getting all gussied up. So if you look closely at the nail polish on my toes...which I may do twice annually, you will notice the grown out part and the chippiness with a little bit of garden dirt thrown in for kicks. That's kind of me. You can see my flaws. Crazy hair and all! If you've never met me personally, it wouldn't take you long to hear them in my speech too. Jeremy points them out often!! Most people know their flaws all too well and don't really need anyone to remind them, just in case you feel like doing that...don't! When they do look in the mirror that's the only thing that they see. I used to get bugged about my nose, once upon a time. After that I kind of obsessed about it for quite a few years in Jr. high. It was larger than life to me. Now I really don't care. I have a really great sense of smell and I really get a good laugh about what my forever growing nose will look like when I'm ninety! (And believe me...if you stink...I'll smell it!) It's funny that the imperfect grows on you over time. You can be comfortable in your own skin and that is an awesome feeling.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Something you don't know about me....

Day Eighteen - Yes, it's true. Peanut M&M's have a very tender place in my heart! I don't think they have recovery groups for M&M addicts, do they? Not sure if I want to be reformed...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In my bag...

Day Seventeen - Sundays are generally busy days for me. I work at a church. I've been doing it for quite awhile and it generally seems like a good fit for my gifts and abilities. I enjoy people. I love to see growth and change in people and community. I get to teach from a really inspired book...the Bible. I get to mentor young people. Sometimes I even get to sing. This morning what was in my bag as I headed off to church is a pretty good snapshot of me. In my bag were my Bible, my laptop (we watched a podcast this morning), and some music.
All the items in my bag were essentials to the tasks that I needed to do this morning. There were no extra things. I wasn't toting around stuff that I didn't need. That makes me crazy. I think that I strive to simplify in most areas of my life. The more extra stuff that I carry around, the non-essentials, are just weight. I'm talking about more than a bag that I put stuff in. I don't know how many of you live with expectations, but sometimes those things really can drag you down. When you live to please others and make others happy you will always play a losing game. When I say that I strive to simplify, I mean that I try to please one person only...God. When I do get the right perspective on things, I feel lighter. I don't feel like the expectations of other people are weighing me down. I feel free; like I may be on to something profound. I feel like I can be real and honest about who I am and what I'm about. There is clarity when I have the right things in my bag! I'm not saying that I don't care what other people think, but I do worry less and less about pleasing everyone if I am focused on pleasing the only one who really matters anyway.

My encouragement to you today is to pack light. Don't carry around things that you don't have to. Live to please the One that matters.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Out and About


Day Sixteen - Today the kids were out and about...I mean my pirates were having swashbuckling adventures with mateys (cousins). They were at a costume birthday party, which they thought was pretty cool. They love dressing up and they love hanging out with other kids. Coen wore his eye patch(not seen here) for four hours straight and kept saying ARRRGH as a response to everything. I'm enjoying them so much lately. They make me laugh. The house was sure quiet when they were gone for three hours...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Yellow

Day Fifteen - We are officially farmers! Last night we got day old chicks. The kids are so excited! As you can tell from all the exclamation marks I may be a little bit excited too! Anyway, the chicks are living with a friend of ours for a few weeks until we have a home for them here. In the mean time, could there be a cuter thing than a fluffy little yellow chick? It was perfect timing for my 'yellow' photo for today! I have a busy day ahead so I'm not going to bother you for long today other than to share with you a little verse that has been going through my head...

O, little chick
So soft and sweet
In a few short months
You'll be yummy to eat....

Hope that doesn't offend anyone, but it was really making me laugh today! Until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Time

Day Fourteen - Time is something that we don't always think about. We celebrate birthdays; they mark years. But often as the days go by in between the 'big' days we forget that moments are passing. This photo represents today. It also represents how as time goes by people change and grow up and pass on skills and knowledge. The three generations that are represented in this photo are important and different. Each has it's own unique values. Each has it's own way of both teaching and learning. Each has an impact on the other. Each relies on the others for guidance and help.

Time is visible. Time creates scars that are individual. Time causes growth and maturity. Time adds character and patina. Time creates strength and endurance. Time changes boys into men.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Art

Day Thirteen - Today's topic is one that is dear to my heart...art. The artist that I've chosen to highlight today is brilliant. Her work is full of color and her philosophy is simple. She once told me that, to her, art is a picture with no white left showing. I have to concur with her astute observation. I definitely think that she achieved that in this painting of a rooster. This budding artist is my one and only girl...Elle.

Elle loves to create. Her imagination is active and it comes out in what she makes. I love that about her. Her aspirations to be an artist one day are echoes of her parents dreams as small children. Creating things is such an innate thing in all of us. I think we get that from our Creator. There are things that each of us find pleasing to look at or listen to. That taste is different in each of us. We get that from our Creator as well. Whenever I think about these kinds of things I am always filled with a sense of awe. It is not by chance that we crave beauty or desire to create it for ourselves. Beauty fills us with a sense of rest. Beauty can inspire hope. Beauty can calm troubled nerves. The beauty that others create can help us acknowledge that there are beautiful things inside of us as well.

When I look at the painting that Elle created, I see glimpses of her. Her painting reflects the energy that she has for life. Her color choices have warmth yet are vibrant and living, just like her. This painting is bright, bold and busy, just like her. It is full of imagination and creativity, just like her. It is full of whimsy, just like her. There's a quote that says: Art imitates life. I think that art also imitates the artist. I can't wait to see what my little painter will create and who she will become.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

From a Low Angle













 Day Twelve - Today was the most fun yet snapping the pictures. I had an opportunity to get in touch with nature and I really did. I laid in the grass, I smelled the irises, I watched the clouds roll by, I studied a spider web, I listened as the wind blew through the leaves on the trees. All of us need beauty and nature provides ample opportunities to be immersed in it. It is a riot of color, sounds, textures, and smells. It speaks. It moves. It is vibrant and full of life. I couldn't narrow down my photos to just one today. I hope that wherever you are today that you enjoy the extravagant splendor of the creation. Breathe it in and be refreshed.




Monday, June 11, 2012

Door

Day Eleven - I've always loved exploring. I remember as a kid taking my mom and dad's binoculars, my bird book, a notebook and pencil and going on adventures in the woods. I could spend hours by myself just walking, looking at things, drawing little pictures and identifying new birds. As I got older, I loved exploring old houses. Where I grew up there are tonnes of old homesteads that have long been abandoned. Walking through those old houses I would always imagine what they were like when they had been full of life. Real live people had lived there and for whatever reason moved on leaving behind a lonely house that eventually decays and fills with critters.

When we moved to Dapp I was somewhat disappointed that there weren't very many old houses to explore. This is one of the only ones that I have seen around. It's less than a mile from our place. My kids and I go there often for picnics under the huge pine tree that is right close to the house. There are remnants of the past scattered throughout the house; an old couch that was left to fade in the elements, a rusty old cook stove, a skeleton of an old mattress, and this beautiful chippy old door. The windows are long gone but this door that once greeted friends and family, that looked out on the lilac tree and the pines, that was slammed in anger, and that was shut to keep out the icy drafts of the frigid winter winds still remains.

 Doors are symbols of beginnings and ends. We open doors in our lives to new opportunities and chances for change. We open doors to experiences and sometimes challenges. We open doors to relationship. We open doors to let things in. We close doors on the past. We close doors to guard against the storms that rage around us. We close doors to keep out intruders. We close doors to when we leave something or someone behind.

I find it interesting that this door is propped open a bit. It's as if it still wants to let things in. It is still inviting. It's story is still not finished. There is more to tell. There are stories that still need to be heard about the people that used to live there so long ago. This door lets light into a forgotten house. This door reminds me that the past is important and that everyone has a story to tell...even a door.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Best Bit of My Weekend


I have to say there were many "best bits" this weekend. Unfortunately,  I can't say though that I have captured them all on film. In doing this photo challenge, part of the point for me was to get behind the camera and kind of make it a habit. I find though that when I am with people, I don't think of the camera. I don't want to be bothered to remember to bring it and to leave with it. My mind is usually on other things! So these are the pictures that my camera missed but will remain the "best bits" in my memory for a long time.... The first was seeing my friend Jane. We have not seen each other for five years (way too long!) and it was wonderful to talk with her and to meet her sweet little kids. It really was like no time had passed at all. We picked up where we left off all those years ago! Another thing that I want to imprint on my mind was watching my kids play on one of those old school merry-go-rounds. You know the ones; they aren't in any modern playground because kids fall off of them and they make them sick. But oh the good times that can be had spinning at top speeds until you're too dizzy to walk! Another memory that will stick with me is the laugh that Jeremy and I had on the way home. It has been a long while since we laughed like that...until we could hardly breathe and the tears were streaming. What we were laughing at probably wouldn't cause the same experience today, but last night it was the icing on a beautiful day! Laughing with Jeremy is one of my favorite things in the world. Another "best bit" was when Coen crawled into bed with us this morning for cuddles. I have to take those cuddles when I can get them, he rarely sits long enough for even a hug. I enjoy the times that he does want to be close! The last and tastiest bit of the weekend was the strawberry and cream cheese ice cream that we just devoured. Seriously creamy and yummy! Almost every bite by Coen had an accompanying 'ummm'. It really was that good. So to end this post today I will share another recipe....
Strawberry and Cream Cheese Ice Cream (Better Homes and Gardens)

2 cups strawberries
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Directions:
1. Place berries in a medium bowl; mash with potato masher until crushed. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the milk and beat just until combined. Add mashed berries, remaining milk, whipping cream, sugar, vanilla and almond extract; beat until just combined.
3. Pour into the freezer bowl of ice cream maker and let it churn for 20-25 minutes. (We ate ours after the 25 minutes because we were all pretty excited to try it, but you could put it in a different bowl and freeze it for a bit to have a little bit firmer ice cream. Either way, it is so fabulous!)

Well that's it for today...tune in tomorrow for another photo and maybe something interesting from me??!!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

My View Today

Day Nine - I have to say my view today was pretty incredible. We spent the last couple of days celebrating the marriage of a friend that Jeremy and I went to Bible School with. He got married in December and wanted to celebrate with more friends and family now...it was a real reunion! I caught up with friends that I haven't seen for years. The celebration took place on an amazing acreage west of Blackfalds, Alberta. So, speaking of the view...it was rolling hills, lush green fields with beautiful trees, and really dramatic grey skies. The greens seemed so vibrant and almost neon at times when contrasted with the dark and foreboding skies. There was even a tornado watch for the area which got me pretty excited. I've always wanted to see a tornado. i thought that would have been a pretty sweet photo to capture as well! Anyway, all of it combined made for a beautiful view. I hope your view today was amazing too...another photo and more of a blog tomorrow...I'm done for the day!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Drink

Day Seven - Life doesn't always go as planned. I'm sure that you know that. Let me give you some examples from my recent days....getting bitten by a dog, slicing my finger open at book club the other night while trying to serve my dessert, touching my eye after just cutting up jalapeno peppers, setting the fire alarm off with my excellent cooking and filling the house with a blue haze, buying tomato plants and leaving them outside to freeze the very same night, and the list could go on. Yesterday Elle asked me as I had my head in the sink with water pouring over my jalapeno eye, "Why does stuff always happen to you?" I replied, "I'm starting to wonder the same thing." All the things that can and do go wrong in my everyday life could drive me to DRINK!

And it does. Let me explain. For as long as I can remember crazy, random stuff has happened to me. (As it does for everyone. I'm really no different.) Sometimes all that crazy stuff can get me down. It starts to wear away at the fabric of my sanity. That's when I know that I need a drink and it also clues me in that I haven't been drinking enough. You may be thinking: "Man, Lisa, sounds like you have a bigger problem that just a few minor incidents....you're an alcoholic!" No. I'm really not. The drink that I'm talking about is water, living water.

Jesus met a woman at a well one time. She had lots of issues. She had been through a string of men, and was likely kind of shunned in her community. I don't imagine that everyday life was real peachy for her. She was at this well outside of town alone. Probably because she didn't have any real companions who would want to walk with her. Enter Jesus. They talk. He asks her for a drink. She is in awe that he is talking to her a woman and a Samaritan; both of these things would be points against her. Jesus basically tells her that if she knew who he was she would be asking him for water! My favorite words of Jesus in this story are these: "Everyone who drinks this water (the water from this well) will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water that I give will never thirst - not ever. The water that I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life." Wow! The woman is blown away. She does ask him for the water that he offers and her life is changed.

This is the water that I drink. When life is weird and has my head spinning, I go to the source of Living Water and I drink. That may sound strange but I listen, I read, I stop feeling sorry for myself and I let the 'stuff' that has been holding on to me roll off. There is peace in the middle of life's weirdness. I'm not sure what I would do or who I would be without that.

("Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink, drink freely of the Water of Life!" Revelation 22:17)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hat

Day Six - Many of you have met the gravity tester in real life, but for those of you who haven't today you get a glimpse. His name is Coen. He is a sweet boy with a lot of energy and imagination. He says he wants to a cowboy when he grows up, we've been thinking maybe a stunt man! Coen loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches, Woody, sharks (pronounced 'showks'), singing, pirates (pronounce 'piwates'), sound effects, rolling around on the floor, his sister, books about silly things, cowboy boots and his cowboy hat.

Lately Coen has exerted a style preference. His cowboy hat and boots go with everything.... pajamas, sweat pants and (my personal favorite) shorts! So he pretty much  wears his cowboy gear whenever we leave the house...preschool, church, town, grandma's house, to get the mail, and one night even to bed! No capes and masks for this guy. Cowboy duds are the thing for him.

People always smile when they see Cowboy Coen. It would take a pretty cold heart not to. He's adorable. I am glad that he makes people smile. I am glad that he isn't self-conscious about who he is and what he likes. Sadly, he will likely learn that soon enough. In the mean time there's something that we can all learn from Coen: Be who you are and love what you love without worrying about stuff that isn't important!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sign


Day Five - Today was a challenge for sure. I live in the middle of nowhere and it's pouring cats and dogs! I wasn't sure if there was a sign around that wasn't boring and uninspiring. So...I got out Elle's markers and my watercolor paints and created something...which was way more fun anyway! This verse has been on my mind for quite a while. It is so true and really should inspire awe in me. Everything about the way that I'm made is amazing. I don't say that with a puffed up sense of myself. I didn't create myself. I don't think it would be anywhere near fearful or wonderful if I was in charge of that. Anyway, I spent all my time today creating so this post is going to be short and sweet. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made...believe it!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Close-up

















Day Four - Being close-up is somewhat intimidating. Flaws and imperfections become visible. The wrinkles and lines are clearly seen. The things that we would like to hide or cover-up are there for everyone to view. This is why make-up is a huge seller! This is also why people keep a certain amount of distance in relationships as well. Being close-up can be hard. When people are allowed close-up they see the real you. The one that is sometimes lazy. The one that lets the odd bad word fly. The one that eats too much and watches questionable things on TV. The one that doesn't always filter what comes out of their mouths. The one that gets depressed and stays in their pj's all day long. The one that yells at their kids in anger. The one that loses patience over little things. The one that let's days and weeks pass without pursuing their dreams. The one that is proud. The one that is arrogant. The one that is opinionated and rude. The one that is nit-picky. The one that is fearful. The one that is jealous. The one that is lack-lustre. The one that is ignorant. The one that is judgemental. The one that is prejudiced. These are the things that we don't want others to see, so we hide. We cover-up. We don't let people close because we are afraid that if someone sees who we really are, we will be judged and then dropped like a hot potato.

There's a verse in the Bible that says this.... perfect love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18) There's another one that says this....love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) If and when we let people close and we let these people love us deeply and honestly, we don't need to be afraid. If it's real love, we don't have to hide. If it's real love, our flaws as well as all the beauty in us is plain to see and we are truly accepted. If it's real love, we are offered grace and a chance to learn and change in the face of our obvious lack. If it's real love, we can be real. If it's real love, there is freedom. If it's real love, there's a chance that we have been hiding for nothing.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

On my plate...

For anyone who knows me, they know that I kinda really like chocolate. So today's challenge was not a hard one for me to decide what to put on my plate, it had to be chocolate. It was a no brainer. I think maybe I get my love of chocolate from my Grandpa. Everyone knows that he loves chocolate too. So every birthday, Christmas, or Father's Day the gifts for Grandpa were generally along the lines of something chocolaty. He would get boxes of yumminess and he would put them in the freezer so they would last until the next chocolate holiday. Everyday, and I have suspicions that maybe it was more than once a day, he would go to the freezer for his treats! He would eat them row by row until that box was empty and then open another one! I imagine the twinkle in his eye as he popped that rock hard piece of fabulousness in his mouth. He is brilliant. If they were in the freezer, he didn't have to share. Who really wants to share your favorite thing anyway?

This brings me to the yummy chocolate cake that you see in the photo today. It has been a go to recipe in our house since the very first time that I tried it. It's easy and, of course, chocolaty! This cake has been shared around our table with many friends over the years. I think maybe even sent home with a few! It's best when it's warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. So today, I will share this easy recipe with you. It's nothing fancy but it is good!

Chocolate Snack Cake (Betty Crocker Cookbook)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the bottom and side of a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray and lightly flour.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt. In a small bowl (I like to use a two cup glass measuring cup), stir 1 cup cold water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp. white vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla until mixed well. Vigorously stir oil and water mixture into the dry ingredients for about 1 minute or until well blended. Pour into cake pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chocolate chips and a tablespoon or two of sugar. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

That's it! It's easy! It has never NOT turned out....that's the kind of recipe I dig! Enjoy your Sunday...hopefully it will include chocolate! Peace.....

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Empty

Day Two - There are different kinds of empty. There is the empty that is left when everything is used up. Like a glass that had ice cold water in minutes ago and now all that is left is the glass and the condensation on the outside of it. The water has filled something else...this is an empty with no sadness. This is an empty that has a purpose. An empty glass is a glass that can be refilled easily.
Another kind of empty is a feeling. It's the kind of empty that cannot be recovered easily. It is the kind of ache inside that you have been used up and may never recover, at least not without a vacation and some really good rest. This empty is like exhaustion. It is a using of all resources. It's a feeling that you have nothing left to give and you are unsure, even if you had a tiny drop of something left, you may not give it. This is a tired kind of empty.

The last kind of empty is the saddest and hardest kind of empty to deal with. This empty is loss. This empty is the loss of something or someone that is never coming back. This empty is not temporary. It cannot be recovered because it is a place in your heart that used to be filled with someone and now they are gone. No one else can fill this space. It is a space reserved for grandmothers, fathers, husbands, daughters, brothers, friends, and home. This kind of empty has a name written in permanent ink. It cannot be erased. It's there forever. It's how we were made.

The funny thing about empty is that we keep filling, even in the midst of it. Our heart has a capacity for both fullness and emptiness, at the same time. We keep loving knowing that we still lose. I like that. It tells me that this kind of empty is also about something amazing. It is about willingness for full and empty spaces in our hearts. It is about love that keeps going even in the empty spaces. This is beautiful to me.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Morning

New month...new challenge. For the month of June I've decided two things. One, I am doing a photo challenge. That means that everyday this month I will take a photo and post it here. The topic for each day was taken from a blog called http://www.fatmumslim.com.au/ if you would like to check that out and possibly join the challenge. That would be fabulous! I always have really great intentions when it comes to taking pictures but rarely have my camera in hand. I'm hoping that this will get me into a better groove. The second part of the challenge is my own. I am also going to write about the topic of the photo. I am up for the challenge. My picture will hopefully inspire me...if not I guess we'll find out!!!
Day One - At 6:30 the alarm rings and the day begins.
My ears are the first things to awaken in the morning.
The birds are instant messaging each other and the breeze moves the blinds on the window like a drummer with no time.
Coen sings a happy tune from his bed, greeting the new day Coen style.
 Jeremy stirs to the turn off the radio's breaking headlines.
My eyes crack open.
Light filters through the cracks and breaks it's way into the black and white sleepiness of our room.
I lay there a minute and soak up the last moments of peacefulness before I pull my heavy limbs from their slumber and shuffle to the bathroom.

 I dream of the smooth, hot coffee that will finish the "awakening" as I pull on my clothes and make my way into Elle's room to get her day started.
I give her good morning cuddles, pick out her clothes, brush her hair, remind her to make her bed, to wash her face, and to go to the bathroom.
I could do this in my sleep.
Maybe I am.
How many mornings have we done this exact thing, this exact way, this exact conversation?
Routine.
Mornings always come.
They are constant.
The only thing that isn't constant are our moods.

Some morning moods make me want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. 
Others energize me.
A smile and a kiss from a sleepy smelling sweet kid is my favorite way to start any day, hands down.
A seven-year-old whining about wardrobe choices is my least favorite.
Negative moods make me grumpy too.

Eventually we are all in the same place, sitting around the table munching on our breakfasts.
But there are so many little things that we do before we ever get there.
Jeremy and I have a elaborate kitchen dance we do in the mornings.
He makes breakfast.
I make lunch for Elle, set the table and make the coffee.
We step lightly around one another.
Him with sizzling pans, cracked egg shells and greasy fingers.
I with mayo, ham and cheese, a juice box and a loaf of bread.
Silently, we anticipate where each other are going to be without saying much.
We talk after coffee.

Shoes on.
Sweater on.
Back-pack on.
Elle and I head out the door.
No embarrassing car dance routines by moi this a.m..
Today we walk in the glittery sunshine to the bus.
We hold hands.
Moods forgotten.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Social Media Break up

Here's a new song I've been working on....

I'm tired of the drama
These old lines are a mess
We've rehearsed the same scenes
With little success
You're a cloudy day
With a chance of rain
I'm tired of pretending
That I'm not in pain


This is over
Now we part ways
There's no new beginning
Please hear what I say
You've said too much
More than I want to hear
And I think it's best now
If you disappear

You push your ideals
To the edge of my strength
It's your way or the highway
Red-faced, fists clenched
Well, I'm not a fighter
And you won't take my love
I'm through with listening
To what you're trying to shove

Oh, this is over
Now we part ways
There's no new beginning
Please hear what I say
You've said too much
More than I want to hear
And I think it's best now
If you disappear....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Say Wha????

Jeremy and I are in the process of buying a new computer. This one is pretty much running on fumes. When he walked into the computer store yesterday he was imagining his opening line to the salesman. It was something like this, "Imagine that I have been in a coma for about fifteen years, now tell me what I need to know about a computer." We laughed pretty hard about this but it's not far from the truth. Words like quad core, 1TB HD, and 6 GHz DDR3 mean absolutely nothing to Jeremy or I. When people start talking techno garble it sounds like the the teacher from Charlie Brown to me...."Wa waawa wawaa wa, waaaawaawwaa waa waa wawa." I just don't get it. I can't and often refuse to keep up with the trends. If I could get you all to read this blog via handwritten letter that would be fine with me. I have never sent a text. I use my cellphone for emergencies only. I don't check facebook when I am with my friends. I just don't. I don't answer the phone when I am talking to someone face to face.

A few years ago, I read an article about people like me. We are called Luddites. There was a movement way back in the early 1800's in England that was led by a guy named General Nedd Ludd. He was rumored to live in the Sherwood Forest and kind of had that Robin Hood sort of reputation. He started a movement of people, mostly artisan weavers, that would go into factories and break stuff or burn it because weaving machines were replacing people and their livelihoods; all because it was cheaper to mass produce in a factory. The modern definition of  Luddite (taken from the Urban Dictionary) reads like this: a person who is adverse to adapting to technology. I guess that is me.

I admit there are somethings about technology that I find convenient and wonderful. I'm a fan of my ipod. Music is fabulous and this tiny square of technology is loaded with hundreds of songs and allows me to listen anywhere, anytime. I also like the machines that make my life easier like the dishwasher, washer and dryer. I can't imagine doing laundry on a rock in the river??!! But, in a lot of cases technology, and all the stuff that goes along with it, is really stealing our skills. I recently had some young people in my home and laughed to myself as they tried to wash dishes with icy cold water from the tap, no soap, no cloth, no sink full of hot bubbles. Strange. A lot of people never write with a pen and paper anymore either and when they do their grammar, spelling and punctuation are a far cry from the good ol' Queen's English. (lol?!!??) (NOT a real word - aghh!) I think it's so sad that something so personal as handwriting will soon be in the history books as archaic as the stone tablet. Weird!

I wonder if the world was ever unplugged if we could survive? It would be an interesting experiment, me thinks. Anyway, gotta run there is sink full of dishes that need to be washed....by me....with my hands.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Skin Deep

Beauty. It's been on my mind since last week when I saw this elderly woman in Tim Horton's who glowed. I was people watching while Coen was finishing his lunch. As I sipped my coffee I noticed this woman. I imagine her to be in her early seventies. An age where most physical beauty has waned quite a bit. There are wrinkles and grey hairs and extra skin in places that you've never imagined it could be, but here was this lady, dressed simply in a turtle neck covered by a blue flannel shirt, with jeans and hiking boots. But it was her face that captured my attention. Time had etched lines there but there was so much beauty there too. Her skin seemed to radiate. Her cheeks were rosy and her mouth smiled. Her eyes twinkled when she spoke to her friend. There was something about this woman that captivated me. She knows some secret to beauty that I believe, though I don't know for sure, came from within her and was unmistakable in her countenance.

People spend so much time, money and effort to enhance and retain physical beauty. Beauty has been marketed and exploited. When I think of this elderly lady though with her silvery braid flung over her shoulder and her sparkliness lighting up Tim Horton's, I think she has something that money could never buy. It's the beauty that starts on the inside and works it's way out. I have no way of knowing her story, but I think like most people she has seen a life full of joys and struggles, laughter and tears. That's just how life is. She has most likely loved and felt the pain of loss. She most likely has experienced dreams fulfilled and hopes that have turned to disappointments. But throughout the course of her life, something has been refined in her and it shows on her face. There is beauty in her.

After watching this lady for awhile, I started looking around at the other women sitting there eating lunch, sipping coffee, and talking with friends. I can honestly say that I didn't see the same kind of beauty reflected in anyone else in that whole place. There may have been people there that were better dressed and looked more put together, more in shape, more stylish, more Botoxed, or with more make-up on their face, but none with as much beauty.

This kind of beauty is deep, deeper than skin. It comes from being content, even when things are crazy. It comes from having peace that holds fast when nothing makes sense. This beauty is full of joy and is always ready to share laughter. This beauty walks with others through their pain and weeps even though it causes wrinkles. This beauty is full of passion and compassion. It is a beauty that acts and is felt. This beauty speaks to the destiny that is in each of us. This beauty unlocks the potential inside of us. It is real. It is something we choose. It is something that takes more attention than the skin routine you do at bedtime. It takes more time than the hours you put in at the gym. It takes more investment than the products that line the shelves in your bathroom. It takes your life. This is the beauty to be coveted.



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shiny and New

I bought a dress today. For anyone who knows me, this is monumental. I've written about it before. I struggle. I so long to be feel myself in a dress. Something that suits. Something that has class. Something that I can breathe in. I found one. I bought it for me. I bought it in the anticipation of being able to wear it somewhere and feel great about myself. I also bought it in the anticipation of looking over my shoulder and catching my husband's eyes on me. That is what this dress will do with me in it.

There's something about that shiny and new feeling... kind of effervescent. There's a sparkle to it. I am feeling nostalgic about when I first fell into this thing called love with Jeremy. When shiny and new was an understatement. Every moment was rose-tinted. Memories are imprinted on my brain from that season of new love. I see us sitting across from each other in a restaurant and him staring at me. I say, "What?" He says, "Nothing." He didn't need to say anything. I didn't really need to ask either. Eyes said much. There was tenderness and bubbly, floaty nervous tension that words just couldn't describe. I remember holding hands and walking slowly around the neighborhood that I lived in. Other people's houses and lives became our dreams. We reeked of idealism and hope. I remember talking about what that would look like and now we live it everyday.

I love the shiny and new feeling. It's the dress on the hanger in my closet waiting to be unveiled. There is no history yet, just possibilities. I have also come to love and appreciate comfy and worn-in, more like the pair of sweats that I have owned for thirteen years and still wear. Our love has walked down the road of those figments of our imagination. We have children. We have a home. We are together. We still love. Comfy and worn-in has seen enough of 'til death do us part to keep holding strong. We fight and we laugh. We hold close and we let go. We reminisce and we dream. We continue to learn and challenge our love. We expand our hearts a little more all the time, breathing the same air and kissing the same lips. There is even the shiny and new feeling now and then when he looks at me (in my sweats) and I say, "What?" And he says, "Nothing." Eyes still communicate much and I am so still in love.